Snoop Dogg and others in the fight for social justice have convened around Death Row Records founder Harry-O to help him get a last minute pardon from embattled, outgoing President Donald Trump. The former Los Angeles drug kingpin was scheduled to be released on Oct. 2028, but will now immediately be released from prison.
Michael “Harry-O” Harris, 58, has been fighting to get out of prison for years, but recently there has been a relentless push for his release after contracting Covid-19. He has also been stricken with an ailment called Guillain-Barré Syndrome, that attacks the immune system and nerves. Harris has been jailed over 30 years after he was convicted of trafficking cocaine and attempted murder.
Rap producer-turned-activist Weldon Angelos talked exclusively to AllHipHop.com to explain how a concerted effort, which included Snoop Dogg, prison reform activist Alice Marie Johnson and others like Michael “Hollis” Goldstein, managed to get a pardon for Harris. Weldon Angelos, after serving over a decade of time for selling a small amount of weed in the early 2000’s, received a pardon as well in December.
Angelos said, “I knew about Harry-O and one of my partners had reached out to him about a year ago, asking if he needed help. [Harry-O] never got that letter…I knew Snoop wanted our help. Snoop called me like 2:30 in the morning on December 27th, wanting to get on with me and Hollis and (other members of the group) to talk about Harry-O. And we set up a call with Alice Johnson. Alice Johnson is my good friend who has President Trump’s ear. President Trump has given Alice the opportunity to provide cases that he will grant if she signs off on it. I have worked with the White House closely and gotten commutations through President Trump. Really Alice Johnson is the on that got this done.”
Weldon Angelos detailed the numerous government officials that he was able to work through to get people released previously. Finally, he said that Snoop, Alice Johnson, Weldon and others had a conference call.
“We just let Snoop give his pitch to Alice on what Harry-O meant to him, you know, how important this person was to him. Alice listened. She was very impressed – not because it was Snoop or that (Harry-O) was the founder of Death Row Records. When she looked through the file that I had sent her, she was impressed that he had done a lot in the time he was in federal prison. He has accomplished a lot through the different programs he was creating and doing on the streets from prison. And his post-release plans.”
Angelos said that Harris thought he would have gotten out soon and he had a host of positive philanthropic efforts lined up to help people outside of the prison walls. “Alice told me, ‘He’s one of us.,'” Angelos said.
Donald Trump, through his various trials with former FBI director James Comey and others, has a purported affinity for people like Harry-O. “He automatically takes the side of the defendant, because he’s been a defendant,” Angelos said of the president. Trump is expected to roll out a long list of more than 100 pardons and commutations today. Lil’ Wayne is among those presumed to receive a pardon. Trump has no plans to pardon himself, as it will present him as guilty of a crime to the nation.
Trump has become a scourge to most people in the Hip-Hop nation and Snoop has been one of the most vocal artists in opposition to the president. However, there would be no getting Harry-O out of his predicament without the historic twice-impeached commander-in-chief.
Roughly, two years ago Snoop Dogg fired a toy gun at a clown that looked at Trump in a rap video, generating a swirl of controversy. Trump fired back on Twitter at the time, “Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @Snoopdogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!”account.
However, it is clear that Snoop is indebted to Harris as one of the founders of the infamous record label that housed the Dogg Father, Dr. Dre, Nate Dogg, Lady of Rage, Kurupt, The D.O.C., RBX, and was run by incarcerated mogul Marion “Suge” Knight. It was Harris that bankrolled the fledgling label with $1.5 million in seed money for a 50 percent stake in the company. Harris and his ex-wife would be embroiled in a legal and financial battle with Knight for years, but were unable to collect on a $107 million victory in court.
Weldon Angelos said that the rapidly aging Harris has been wronged by the system as well.
“He was railroaded, doing his time twice. Doing all this time in the State and then the Fed (afterward), but it wasn’t running concurrent like it was supposed to,” he continued, “And so he had to do all this time over again. This is definitely an injustice they corrected today. Out of all this drama going on with the White House, something good has coming out of this.”
“Harry-O had another 10 years and he may not have made it,” he said, “There’s Covid…its rampant, there’s 40,000 people infected in the federal prison system and 190 deaths and its rising every day.”
“I think President Trump can leave with some good,” Angelos said. “Snoop said, ‘This is a great thing they are doing. And he wasn’t afraid to say it.'”